African media company Kwesé and Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service, today launched a long-term partnership for Sub-Saharan Africa, leveraging Kwesé’s pan-African reach to help make it easier for African consumers to enjoy Netflix.
As part of the partnership Kwesé will develop partnerships with telecoms operators across Sub-Saharan Africa to distribute Kwesé TV and Netflix. The first partnership activity is launching the Netflix service on the Kwesé Play streaming box today. Kwesé Play will launch initially in South Africa and will roll out across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Kwesé Play streaming box is the first set-top box in Africa to officially include Netflix service. It is powered by Roku, meaning it has a best in class user interface, and there is a dedicated Netflix button on the remote control giving consumers the ability to access their favorite show with a simple click. At launch, Kwesé Play customers in South Africa will be offered an exclusive, three-month gift subscription to Netflix with their purchase. Kwesé will also make it easier for African consumers to join Netflix as they will also be able to pay for their Netflix service through their Kwesé Play account in local currencies.
Kwesé has stated its commitment to providing premium content to African viewers across multiple platforms. This deal further cements its claim to be Africa’s source for the best in international and African programming.
Netflix has a fantastic content lineup, and with 1,000 hours of Netflix Originals in 2017 there are always great new shows and movies coming onto the service. Many Netflix Originals will be released in Africa at the same time as everywhere in the world, including new seasons of global hits such as Stranger Things, Narcos, Luke Cage and The Crown, stand-up comedies like Trevor Noah, Afraid of the Dark, and Netflix Original films such as the forthcoming Will Smith film, Bright. Netflix members in Africa will also be able to see some shows that are not available to Netflix members in the US, such as hit series Designated Survivor and the new Star Trek: Discovery series.
Speaking about the deal, Econet Media President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Hundah said “The number of connected homes in Africa continues to grow at an impressive rate and we expect to see strong uptake of Netflix in our markets. The current number of active subscribers is a fraction of what we both believe the potential to be. We see this as an opportunity to expand Kwesé’s multi-platform offering while bringing the best in original general entertainment to households across the continent”.
Maria Ferreras, Netflix Vice President of Business Development, EMEA, said: “African customers are demonstrating their enthusiasm and appetite for internet television and we believe they should be able to access the best shows in the world at the same time as everyone else, without the restrictions of a linear schedule. We’re working hard to make this a reality and we are thrilled to be working with Kwesé to make it easier for people to access and enjoy our service.”
Africa’s newest pan-African broadcaster Econet Media today announced the launch of its Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) service Kwesé Play a video streaming service delivered on high speed data networks, in particular fibre-to-the-home (FTTH).
Kwesé has invested in a multi-platform content distribution model which it has expanded to include IPTV, perfectly timed to meet current trends in South Africa which has shown a move towards over-the-top (OTT) services, particularly among viewers looking for diversity and choice. Video-on-demand services and streaming content over the internet utilising fibre networks has grown in popularity in South Africa, however the industry has been plagued by slow download speeds and the high cost of access. The Kwesé Play experience promises to be slicker and faster than anything currently available on the African continent. The company will leverage Africa’s largest fibre network, available through sister company Liquid Telecom which concluded its acquisition of Neotel last year. Neotel holds leading-edge 4G and 5G LTE spectrum capability which is being configured to carry video content.
According to Joseph Hundah Econet Media’s President and Chief Executive Officer, “Kwesé Play removes many of the primary hurdles which have stopped some of the leading VOD services from entering the continent. Our platform will deliver an excellent viewing experience over a reliable and super-fast network at a price point which is more affordable than any service currently available in the market.”
Rather than building its own VOD business, Econet Media has taken a different approach and invested in building the best platform to house some of the biggest names in VOD globally. Kwesé is the exclusive African partner for Roku®, the largest OTT and streaming platform in the US . As part of its Roku Powered™ programme, which includes the likes of Sky for the Now TV Box and Telstra for Telstra TV, the Kwesé Play service will combine the strength of the Roku® streaming platform with the best in global and local VOD entertainment offered by Kwesé.
Kwesé Play brings a unique proposition in a market where there is very little choice available to consumers. Through partnerships with the world’s leading VOD content providers including but not limited to; Netflix, iflix, YouTube, RedBull TV, Revolt, TED, and HappyKids2. Kwesé Play introduces the most diverse VOD content offering with over a 100 VOD services delivered on a single platform. Kwesé Play will not only offer the best in entertainment but some of the best in sports and news content including Kwesé’s own channels and content.
"Our strategy is to provide the best in VOD via a superior network. We’ve partnered with the best in IPTV hardware and content to offer our viewers world-class programming through our fibre network infrastructure,” added Hundah.
 Over-the-Top aka video-on-demand. Viewers are able access content as and when they wish to. This usually requires a subscription.
 Lella, 2016 Roku leads OTT streaming devices in household marketshare: https://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Roku-Leads-OTT-Streaming-Devices-in-Household-Market-Share